Well, actually, only one of these goes by the name of bread, and its not the one that has yeast in it! Today, I have three goodies to share: Biscuits, Hiberian brown bread, and Pretzels. Yes, that’s right. I baked PRETZELS. While the limitations of the thanksgiving challenge are, well… challenging, its making me make more and more delicious baking items. Lets do this chronologically, as the pretzels are the coolest and the last.
Biscuits of the baking powder variety which I am now dubbing “Popcorn Biscuits”
For some reason, these biscuits remind me strongly, very strongly of popcorn. This is a funny story, as throughout college, a goal of my suite was to create ‘popcorn biscuits’, that is… biscuits with popcorn popped inside it. We also tried popcorn cake. Sadly, none of our efforts worked. Here is a photo of our ‘best’ result. The kernels didn’t pop, so we popped them in the microwave after the biscuits were done baking…
Correct: It exploded.
Back to *these* biscuits. I think the appearance is due to the high baking temperature. Here we go.
- 2 c. white flour
- 2.5 t baking powder
- 1/3 c shortening (Hil declared: “oh, *thats* why it tastes so good! )
- 3/4 c milk
- 1/2 t salt
One nice thing about baking powder biscuits: They’re simplicity itself to make. Take the dry ingredients and mix. Add the shortening and mix until its incorporated and seems flaky. Add the milk and stir till combined. Divide into good sized biscuits (I use my hands and its roughly a small handful of dough… your hand-mileage may vary.)
Bake at 475 (yeah, that hot!), for 12 minutes. Take out and enjoy your popcorn biscuits. Yum yum. This was Sunday night.
Next! The only one with “bread” in the title. This was last night.
Hiberian Brown Bread
Hil said yesterday that she wanted bread at ~7 PM, and as a good bread takes 3 or more hours to make, I looked through my awesome whole wheat baking book (Whole Grain Baking by King Arthur Flour [yeah, horribly self-promotional of them]) and found this. Like the biscuits, this thing uses baking powder as its leavening agent. As it turns out. this makes it a lot more ‘sconey’ than ‘bready’ but scones are delicious too! (although why they didn’t call it ‘hiberian brown big sconey thing’ I have no idea)
- 3 c. Whole wheat flour
- 1 c. all purpose flour
- 1/2 c. rolled oats
- 2 t baking powder
- 1 t baking soda
- 1 t salt
- 1.5 c milk
- 1 egg
- 1/2 cup melted butter
Again, no yeast = Easy to prepare! As before, mix together the dry ingredients and mix together the wet ingredients. Make a well in the middle of the dry ingredients and pour in the liquid. Mix until everything is moist and then start kneading it a few times by hand. This will be sticky. Very sticky. Take off your rings before you do it otherwise you’ll be chipping dried dough off it for days (yeah… yours truly kinda forgot)
Shape the dough into a ball (or… as close to a ball as you can get) and put it into an 8 inch round pan (I used a springform and was quite pleased). Bake at 400 for 10 minutes, then 375 for 30-40 minutes more until it browns up. Eat and enjoy. As I mentioned before, this ends up tasting a lot like scones, both in flavor and texture… but we love scones around here, so… we declare this a victory.
And finally, tonight’s endeavor.
Pretzels: An amazing adventure.
I love soft pretzels. This may be because of my Bavarian heritage… in fact, it likely is. I just find them so much FUN to eat! pulling the arms apart, eating it piecemeal… absolutely delightful. So… I stumbled upon the recipe in my book (the KAF book from above) and KNEW I had to make it. Here we go.
- 1 3/4 c. Whole what flour
- 1 c water
- 1 T soft butter
- 1.5 c bread flour
- 1.5 t salt
- 1 t yeast
- 3 T brown sugar (it calls for 1 t barley malt extract, which I don’t have. I’m sure it would make it even more delicious)
For this bread, the first step is to mix ONLY the whole wheat flour and water. Cover and let sit for 20 minutes… I don’t know why you do this, but it says to, so… okay!
Next, add in the rest of the ingredients and mix together. Knead for about 6 minutes, then let rise for an hour and a half. Cut the dough into eights and roll each piece into a rope 1/2 inch thick. As you can see from the photo below, I was more successful with some pieces and less on others… all are equally tasty. Take each piece and lay in a circle, and twist the two ends over one another, leaving about 2-3 inches for each ‘tail’ which you then reattach to the ring to create the full pretzel.
About 10 minutes before the dough is ready, get a big pot of water and start bringing it to a boil. I didn’t know this, but you partially boil a pretzel to make it! Once the pot boils, drop it to a simmer and add 2 T baking soda to the pot.
Next, add the pretzels 3 at a time. They’ll plump up nicely. Boil for a minute, then remove and put onto a baking sheet. It is REALLY interesting to see the increase in size!
- 1 egg beaten with 1 T water and a pinch of salt
Mix this up and use a brush to put the glaze on the pretzels. You can then add kosher salt and/or some sort of seeds. I used sesame seeds. Bake at 450 for 12-15 minutes.